Korkmaz and colleagues sought to investigate the frequency of suicidal ideation and its association with other clinical characteristics in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and discovered that PAH patients reported higher levels of hopelessness and depression than healthy individuals, according to a study published in The Primary Care Companion For CNS Disorders.
The research team wrote, “It has been reported that anxiety and depression symptoms are quite common in patients with PAH due to the clinical symptoms of the disease, their negative impact on the patient’s quality of life, and resulting socioeconomic problems.” Korkmaz et al hence decided to further investigate the psychiatric symptoms associated with PAH and compare them with those of healthy controls.
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The study was conducted at the Cardiology Department of Fırat University Hospital, a third-level cardiology outpatient institution. The researchers recruited a group of consecutive PAH patients (n=50) between the ages of 18 and 50 years. In addition, 50 age- and sex-matched healthy individuals were recruited as controls. Both participants and controls were asked to complete a number of psychiatric scales to assess their mental status.
The researchers reported, “In this study, we found that individuals with [PAH] had higher hopelessness and depression scores compared to the control group, and their self-esteem levels were also lower.”
The findings of this study highlight the link between chronic illness and psychiatric issues. Korkmaz et al wrote, “In [PAH], which is a chronic disease, it was reported that anxiety and depression symptoms are common due to lifestyle changes induced by clinical symptoms and associated socioeconomic problems.” They added, “although mood disorders are frequent in this patient group, these disorders are seldom diagnosed, and mood disorders improved after treatment of the clinical disease symptoms.”
The solution to this problem is for physicians to pay greater attention to the psychiatric needs of patients with chronic illnesses. Korkmaz and colleagues concluded, “Patients with intense emotions of despair and depressive symptoms should be identified, and psychotherapeutic intervention should be conducted.”
Korkmaz S, Akbulut M, Kazgan A, et al. Suicidal ideation, self-esteem, and hopelessness in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. Published online December 23, 2021. doi:10.4088/PCC.21m02941